The Liverpool manager has admitted that he’s yet to make up his mind as to which centre-back pairing he will employ against Stoke City, in our first Premier League game of the new season next weekend.
Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren have started the last three pre-season games side by side, but haven’t completely convinced, with their under-par display in Kuala Lumpur last weekend of particular concern.
They were better against HJK in Helsinki on Saturday but were, in truth, rarely troubled by a team who were intent on keeping all of their players behind the ball to fend off wave after wave of Liverpool attack.
Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure are likely to get their opportunity to impress against Swindon later today, while young Tiago Ilori might also be hoping for a run out after missing the Far East tour through international duty.
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The Northern Irishman was asked following yesterday’s 2-0 win whether Skrtel and Lovren would be his partnership come the Stoke game next weekend. However, he wasn’t given anything away.
“It’s not something I’ve totally decided upon yet,” Rodgers said, in quotes taken by the Liverpool Echo. “I’ll sit down with the staff and we’ll look at it next week. The key is getting consistency in that area of the field.
“Your two centre-halves are critical. They are the tactical decision makers in the game. That balance is important for us this season. We had too many defensive changes last year and that’s not something that I like. Hopefully this season we’ll be more consistent as a back four.”
He was also asked about Joe Gomez, who started again in Finland, while Alberto Moreno was left at home – fuelling speculation that the teenager could be preferred to the Spaniard come our trip to the Britannia Stadium.
“I wouldn’t have any issues (with playing him),” Rodgers added. “You’ve seen from my time here that irrespective of the age of a player, it’s about the quality and personality. Whether they are 17 or 27, if I think they are ready, I’ll play them.”
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